Beware of Agents Who Claim They'll Give You Their Commission

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

I had an experience this past week that I thought I wouldn't have in this market.  I was referred Mr. and Mrs. Buyer last weekend  and they proceeded to tell me about two agents who told them she would give them most if not all of their commissions!  One agent told them she would give them $13,000, and another said she would pay their closing costs.  I remember this happening a lot when the market was hot and clients were being taken away from other agents because of these promises.  However, here's some things to think about.

  1. If an agent is willing to give up most or all of their commission, how hard are they going to work for you?  After all, they're going to get paid little to nothing!
  2. How much experience does this agent have if they have to give up most or all of their commission?  Sometimes newer agents will do this so they can get business and experience.
  3. If you are offered this from an agent, ASK THEM TO PUT IT IN WRITING!  I bet you'll be surprised how quickly they'll back peddle.
  4. Could this be violating any laws/rules?  Possibly.  If the agent is going to offer this, all parties to the transaction must be notified in writing.  It cannot be done outside of escrow.

There probably are more reasons that what I have listed here, but these seem to be at the top of my list.  Do agents sometimes give up some of their commission to get a deal done?  Yes, sometimes we do.  However, that should not be offered to entice you to work with them.

You should be interviewing the agent as though they are applying for a position in your company.  After all, they are going to be helping you buy or sell one of your most valued assets.  You need to ask them about their experience--not just the years in business, but how many transactions they've completed in the last six months.  Ask them for testimonials/referrals from past clients.  Do they jump from company to company?  How long have they lived in your area?  What makes them a strong negotiator?  I'm sure these questions will inspire more that you will want to ask.  But be sure to ask, ask, ask!


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Comments (5)

Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Your first line says it all and frankly if clients want this more than honest experienced service then I just let them go, it's just not worth it!

Mar 20, 2010 10:43 AM
Lisa Clanin
Keller Williams Realty - San Diego, CA

Yes, that's exactly what I did!  Nice to see there are still many professionals in this business.

Mar 20, 2010 10:45 AM
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

There is a local agent who does this all the time - she says she's working with friends.  The problem is that those people tell other people, who tell other people, and soon enough, it's expected of us!

Mar 20, 2010 10:52 AM
Jen Olson
First Weber Group Realtors - Marshfield, WI

Lisa-  I have had listing agents try to do this with buyer clients of mine that attend those listing agent's open houses.  They have told the buyers that they can get them the house for x dollars if they write the offer with them, since they will cut their commission, but they can't guarantee the same price if they write an offer with me.  What some people won't do to make a buck!

Mar 20, 2010 11:15 AM
Lisa Clanin
Keller Williams Realty - San Diego, CA

They make a quick buck, but what about their reputation?  It's agents like that that make us look bad.

Mar 20, 2010 11:57 AM